Quarterly check-ins. They happen at the workplace and they happen in schools. So, why don’t they happen at home?
Recently, I began thinking that I want my children to give me a periodic “Performance Review”. Yep, you heard me right. I want them to rate me on the job I am doing as their mother and I want for them to voice to me what it is they feel I need to improve on. The husband too. I’ll let him give me more than one performance review (wink, wink).
Truth be told, I think that, overall, I am a good parent. I definitely make a lot of mistakes and behave in ways that I am not proud of sometimes, but for the most part, I am satisfied with my level of hardwork and dedication to this whole parenting thing.
Still, just like in the workplace or in schools, a periodic check-in will serve to help you, your husband and your children, figure out what areas could use some progress or revamping; ultimately aiding in the strengthening your family dynamic.
Every four months is the perfect time to “check in” because it is frequent enough to remember what you accomplished during that time, but infrequent enough to not be burdensome on all of you. This is not to say that you shouldn’t converse with your husband and children on a daily basis, as you definitely should. But, rather, quarterly check-ins provide an opportunity for more thoughtful, insightful and generalized feedback as opposed to being incident specific, as it may be on a daily basis.
You and your husband can have your check in with or without the kids. If your kids are old enough, they may benefit from hearing you and your husband check in with each other and respectfully communicate your impressions (but of course only when the topic is appropriate for them to hear). If your children are younger, then it may be best for you and your husband to check in at a separate time.
Here are some basic prompts/questions for a quarterly check-in with your children:
- What do you feel like you have done well this quarter? Have them list his/her top 5 accomplishments for school and for home.
- What 3-5 goals will you focus on next quarter? Have them set individual goals for for school and for home. Maybe even set some family goals to accomplish.
- How can you improve as a student? How can you improve as a daughter/son? How can you improve as a sister/brother?
- How are you embracing our family’s values? First, if you have yet to establish family values with your children, you need to do that. Then talk about each value and provide real-life examples. Have them try to specify when they have acted on each of these values.
Overall, I do believe that quarterly family check-ins will prove to be an effective and successful tool for keeping your family happy, in-tune and aligned with one another. These little check-ins provide a structured way for you and your children to reflect on the events in your lives, while also providing mini deadlines for progress. This type of organized communication will help your children, your husband and yourself work on self-reflection, a great life skill. It also encourages you to come up with a plan, stick to it and successfully execute it. Creativity is also encouraged during these check-ins, as the discussion is driven by the lead individual, with only you providing prompts.
As a parent, quarterly check-ins will allow for you to see where your child is at–what they are learning, where they are struggling and which life skills need some improvement. You will also be able to learn how your child is processing the situations they are encountering. It will give you a chance, in a structured and appropriate setting to provide feedback at a time when they are receptive.
Fundamentally, the idea is to let these check-ins serve as nothing more than motivation for each of you to be the best versions of yourselves, which in turn will strengthen your family as a whole.